A 60-story tower is proposed to rise over an 1872 heritage building in Toronto

SmartCentres proposes to develop a 60-story tower in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District, rising over a heritage building that currently houses the Irish Embassy Pub.

The developer submitted a zoning by-law modification proposal to City planners earlier this month, asking for permission to build a mixed-use skyscraper with 258 residential apartments at 49 and 51 Yonge Street, on the northeast intersection of Yonge and Wellington.

Currently, 49 Yonge Street is home to a four-story structure created by Henry Langley in 1872 that served as the former Bank of British North America, one of Toronto’s first banks. According to the application’s planning reasoning, it was recognised as a heritage building in 1979 under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The structure next door, at 51 Yonge Street, is a heritage property that dates back to 1847.

The Irish Embassy Pub & Grill is now occupying the ground level of the property at 49 Yonge Street, which has been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19.

According to the project’s planning rationale, the outside facades of both of the current 4-story buildings on the site would be preserved, with minimal adjustments, and incorporated into the podium of the proposed residential tower, which would rise 56 stories above, for a total of 60 stories.

The only changes to the 49 Yonge Street front would be on the east side of the building to permit a lane widening across the street. In addition, the buildings’ current commercial use would be preserved.

The proposed construction, designed by architectsAlliance, is characterised as a canyon-style building with a series of setbacks that would be built in a “square shape” to mirror the shape and orientation of the existing property and heritage structures.

Architectural setbacks would be located on the fifth and sixth floors to expose the transition between the heritage buildings and the tower above, according to the planning reason. Then, from the 22nd to the 60th level, a 10-metre tower setback from the north property line would run.

On the north side of the tower, the setback on the 22nd level would allow for a 254 square metre outdoor amenity space on the roof of the 21st floor. A total of 540 square metres of indoor leisure space is proposed on the entire 6th floor, with additional indoor amenity space on the 21st and 22nd levels.

There would be 152 one-bedroom, 80 two-bedroom, and 26 three-bedroom suites among the 258 units proposed for the tower.

The development would include office uses on floors two through five, totaling 1,701 square metres, with entrances to both the office and residential components of the tower built off Yonge Street.

A total of 284 bicycle spaces are proposed on two levels of below-grade bicycle parking. However, there has been no mention of vehicle parking.

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